KEY WEST, FL (CelebrityAccess) — Every once in a while, we run across a story of folks in the industry lending each other a hand when in need. The following was a submission from one of our members recounting just such an event.
So there I was, sitting at my desk just before noon last Wednesday when I received a frantic call from an old friend at a bureau who was in trouble. He had an event in Key West, FL that afternoon and the scheduled speaker had travel problems and wasn't going to make it. My friend knew Mike Abrashoff lived in Miami and asked whether he might be available to speak at 4:00 PM! Oh – one other small point – it would be a free talk! This was an association industry showcase situation and the bureau was in a bind.
As it turned out, Mike was indeed home that day – it was a rare day off the road for him. But it’s a 3:40 ride to Key West from Miami – and the big issue was Mike had a 9:00 AM talk the next day in Nashville. If he spoke in in Key West it would be touch-and-go whether Mike could make it to Nashville on time.
Under the circumstances, I told the bureau to not count on it – but also called Mike to fill him in. We talked for 5-6 minutes about travel options. There were flights between Key West and Miami – but they were all booked. There wasn’t time to wait for a car service to scramble a vehicle – the only option was to drive it. Mike said he would like to help the bureau out of a jam because they’d been very good to him. He asked me what I thought and I said “it’s a wild idea but if you want to try it let’s just make sure they hold the slot in case traffic delays you.” It was already 12:15! Just before 12:30 we confirmed that they would hold the slot for Mike. When I called Mike back he was already in the car and on his way – he didn’t even wait for my confirmation.
What I didn't know until after Mike was on the road was that he had an eye exam that very morning. His pupils had been dilated just an hour earlier. You know what that’s like – you can’t see well for hours!! So as we were talking things through, Mike signaled his housekeeper, Orianna, to run out to fill the car with gas. It was Orianna who drove Mike to Key West since his eyes were no match for the blazing Florida sun. Mike and Orianna arrived at 4:15 – he was on stage at 4:20 and did a great 40-minute talk, according to the bureau's post-event report. He and Orianna then immediately turned around for the 4-hour drive to Miami International Airport where he caught a 9:40PM flight to Nashville and spoke the next morning as scheduled.
At the end of the day, MISSSION ACCOMPLISHED. Mike did a free talk for a friend in need and didn’t even charge for the fuel to make the trip! In the note Mike wrote to the agent the next day he said “I happen to be very fortunate doing something that I love and don't ever take it for granted. I am fortunate to work with Tony and to have a great relationship with your company so when a brother is in a bind, I will always look for a way to say yes. I could have come up with a million reasons to say no on Wednesday but I am so grateful for our relationship that I was happy to do it. I want you to know I am happy to help out any time you need me.”
The story is a great example that proves how much loyalty and friendship matter. For me, it’s vital to work with people who share those values – and obviously Mike does. When I started DN after 42 years on the agent side of things, it was very important to me that every speaker I managed buy into a philosophy: we are all here to help make our partners and the buyer look good. If we do that, everyone wins!
I am proud of my long association with Mike Abrashoff. I'm ever grateful that he cares so much. His can-do attitude and customer-centered beliefs have driven his extraordinary success as a speaker from the very beginning. It’s one thing talk about it – it’s quite another to follow through when the chips are down. As he said, " I could have come up with a million reasons to say no on Wednesday but I am so grateful for our relationship that I was happy to do it. I want you to know I am happy to help out any time you need me.”
What a great sentiment! Thank you, Mike!